The final few chapters in Michael Eisner's rocky tenure as CEO of Disney
The resurgence at ABC and continued improvement at sports programming juggernaut ESPN helped drive a 16% surge in revenue at the company's media networks. The subsidiary's margins improved as operating profits rose 46%. In fact, media networks' $998 million in operating income accounted for 68% of all of Disney's operating profitability.
The company's theme parks held up relatively well, though it was disappointing to see attendance at Disney's Florida theme parks dip despite upticks in occupancy rates and guest spending. Yes, the timing of the Easter holiday created a difficult comparative basis (it occurred in the March quarter this year, as opposed to the June quarter last year), but the company's Disneyland resort in California had no problem growing its turnstile clicks during the same period. Even regional amusement park operator Six Flags
With Disney's production coming in mostly from its broadcasting and theme park divisions, the company is relying less on its consumer-products and studio businesses.
That's a good thing these days. The company sees what DreamWorks Animation
Disney should be fine on that last point. The freshman seasons of Lost and Desperate Housewives will be released on DVD next month.
By now, it's a given that Disney will be hard-pressed to hit on all cylinders. Not every quarter can bring a theatrical blockbuster. That's why it's important that if Disney is going to hit, that it hit on the right cylinders. Media networks. Theme parks. Those are the two heavy hitters, and for now, they are going great.
That's why the Mickey Mouse Club can rest easy. Well, at least for another three months.
Some more prime-time headlines:
- The cease-fire in the battle of Disney vs. Disney came as welcome news.
- CEO-elect Bob Iger's timing in embracing the Disney family is perfect, with Disneyland celebrating its first 50 years of operation.
- Maybe now Iger can repair the company's waning popularity at the box office.
Pixar is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still misses Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in the company's Florida parks. He owns shares of Disney, Six Flags and Pixar. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.